How Much Extra Tile to Buy for Backsplash

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can instantly upgrade the look and feel of the space. But when purchasing tile for a backsplash install, it can be tricky to know exactly how much extra to buy. Having leftover unused tile is preferable to running out halfway through your project! Here are some tips on how much extra tile to buy when tiling your backsplash.

Measure Carefully

The first step is to carefully measure the backsplash area you plan to tile. Don’t just estimate; precisely measure the length and height including inside corners and niches. Multiply the length times the height to determine the total square footage. This is the minimum amount of tile you need to purchase.

It’s also wise to break the area down into sections. For example, measure the space between countertops and upper cabinets. Then measure any other areas like behind the range or around windows. This allows you to purchase tile per section rather than one large quantity.

Calculate 10-15% Extra

Once you know precisely how much tile is needed to cover the measured area, add 10-15% more to allow for cuts, wasted pieces, and future repairs. Tile can be delicate and brittle, so breakage can occur. If you end up needing more in the future, tile dye lots and patterns can change over time. Better to have extras from the original lot.

As a general rule, purchase 10% extra for cement, porcelain or glass tiles, and 15% extra for handmade, natural stone or mosaic tiles. The more intricate or expensive the tile, the more extra you’ll want for peace of mind.

Popular Backsplash Patterns

Some backsplash tile patterns require purchasing more upfront than simple rectangular layouts.

Subway Tile

The classic 3″ by 6″ subway tile only requires small cuts for outlets and ends. So 10% extra is usually sufficient.


Herringbone patterns require angled cuts so they have more waste. Get 15% extra to be safe.

Penny Tile

Tiny penny tiles involve many pieces and grout lines. The small size and intricate alignment means more tile is needed. Go with 20% extra for penny tiles.

Diagonal Layouts

Diagonal installations require tile to be cut on the bias rather than straight edges. The off-angle cutting increases waste. Get 15% extra for diagonals.

Accent Tiles

When using decorative accent tiles, purchase an extra box or two even if they are only going in small areas. These specialty tiles can be tough to match later on.

Don’t forget the edging!

If your design includes a finished edge or border tile, calculate linear footage needed and add 10-15% extra to be safe. Bullnose, chair rail, and other edging tile is used on edges and transitions. Make sure to buy enough to complete all edges as needed.

Purchase Extra Grout

It’s also smart to purchase extra grout when buying tile. It’s difficult to get a perfect color match if purchasing grout later on. Get 10-15% more than you think is needed based on tile spacing and grout line width. Any leftover grout can be used for repairs down the road.

Buy From the Same Dye Lot

Pay attention to dye lots when purchasing tile. Tile from different dye lots, even if it’s the same brand and style, can have slight color variations. Make sure all your tile comes from the same lot number for the most seamless look.

Store Tiles Properly

Keep all your extra tiles stored together safely. Tile can chip and crack if not boxed up properly. Keep extras from the same dye lot together until installation is complete, in case any replacements are needed.

A Wise Investment

Paying a little extra upfront to buy more tile than precisely needed may seem inefficient. But protecting yourself from potential shortages or mismatches down the road is truly wise. The small extra cost brings great peace of mind for any backsplash project. Investing in 10-15% extra tile means your kitchen backsplash will look beautiful and uniform for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much extra tile should I get for a kitchen backsplash?

For most kitchen backsplashes, it is recommended to purchase 10-15% more tile than your measurements indicate is necessary. This accounts for potential breakage, uneven layouts, and future repairs.

Should I get extra accent tile?

Yes, it is especially important to get extra accent tile beyond the standard 10-15% overage. Decorative accent tiles can be hard to find again if you run out or need repairs later on.

What about extra grout?

Purchase at least 10-15% extra grout when buying tile as well. More grout is needed for wider grout lines. Get extra so you have the same dye lot if repairs are needed.

Do natural stone tiles need more overage?

Natural stones like marble, travertine, and granite tend to be more delicate and costly. Get 15% extra of these more fragile and expensive tile types.

Should I calculate edging tile separately?

Yes, calculate and purchase edging pieces like bullnose separately, based on your measured linear footage needs. Add 10-15% extra edging pieces to be safe.


Calculating how much extra tile to buy for a backsplash takes careful measurements and planning. But purchasing an extra 10-15% upfront can give great peace of mind and assurance down the road. Investing in extras from the same dye lot means your kitchen backsplash will look amazing for years to come. With smart planning and a bit of extra tile, you’ll be set up for backsplash success.